Gravesend grandmother wins Nationals Lottery top prize

A great-grandmother from Gravesend has had her dreams come true after a £500,000 win on the National Lottery, and she told her family she “always knew I would win.”

Sheila, a grandmother of 15, banked half a million pounds on the Thunderball amid the pandemic earlier this year, and has set her eyes on property after her lucky day.

The 80-year-old told her family and friends she knew she was destined to win, but admitted it was now all a bit surreal.

“I can’t get my head around it at the moment.

“It is still quite new and hasn’t really sunk in. It has become more real after holding the big cheque.”

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Sheila, who is from Gravesend, said she always used to buy her lottery tickets on a visit to the shops, but after lockdown turned to playing online via the National Lottery website.

When she checked the winning numbers in September, they all looked a little familiar.

“I looked and thought they looked like my numbers and that I had better sign in to my National Lottery account.

“As soon as I saw the message that I had won, I knew it was £500,000 top prize. I always knew I would win Thunderball.”

Sheila immediately called her children to share the news. The great-grandmother of 15 certainly celebrated – she was found by her eldest son dancing around her flat when he visited later that day.

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This isn’t even her first win – whilst living in the US she won £20,000 in a similar type of lottery game.

Sheila played and won ‘Fantasy Five’ whilst living in Florida in the early 1990s, and she explained that her win in the US actually played a role in her slightly larger win on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Fantasy Five only allowed you to choose numbers up to 26, meaning my birth date – the 28th – had to become 2 and 8.

“The winning numbers in this Thunderball draw of course included 2 and 8.

“Also there were the birth dates of my three children 5, 14 and 24.

“The all-important Thunderball was number 10. Ten is supposed to be my lucky number – it certainly seems to be very lucky now.”

Not happy with two lottery wins, Shelia feels her luck isn’t done yet, with the second win just building up to the third.

She said: “I’ve got my eye on the next win. I see the stories in the papers of the big winners my daughter-in-law looks after and it always takes me back to my win in Florida – and now it’s happened again!

“It’s been a bit more each time so it will have to be EuroMillions next.”

So what is the great-grandmother from Gravesend going to spend her winnings on?

Sheila said she has always wanted to buy a bungalow when she won, but now having had a look at property her plans have changed.

“I live in a flat in a lovely retirement community with a club and social trips.

“Buying a bungalow would meaning leaving all that.

“There is a larger flat available in my complex so I have my eye on that. It is on the top floor so I suppose you could say I’m moving to the penthouse!”

“The flat needs some work and Sheila is looking forward to the project.

“I have been saying to my son that I needed something to get stuck into, I am not one to sit around and be bored. Redeveloping the flat is perfect to keep me occupied.”

Unable to keep it to herself, she has been telling everyone she meets of her good fortune.

“It has taken time to sink in so I am glad I kept my promise and got to spray the celebratory bottle of champagne.

“It has made it real and the big lottery cheque will look great on the wall in my penthouse. When I win my third one, I’ll definitely go public again.”

Sheila is also the mother-in-law of a Winners’ Adviser at Camelot – Although Camelot employees are not allowed to buy tickets for or play National Lottery games, extended family members who aren’t part of the same household – which applies to Sheila – are eligible to play.

Winners’ Advisor Kathy said, “I’m delighted for Sheila. I have the most amazing job where I get to see lives changed by a National Lottery win and I know what a difference this will make to her.

“It’s great that she’s been able to share the news of her win and celebrate her good fortune.”

Around £600m has been raised by the National Lottery for charities and organisations affected by Covid-19.

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